Among States: Renewable Energy Leaders have Low Electricity Costs

February 27, 2023

Looking at relative electric prices vs renewable penetration among various state is instructive. EIA has a great page for this.

Karin Kirk at Yale Climate Connections:

Electricity is changing. As states like Minnesota commit to 100% carbon-free electric power, Montana is opting to double down on coal. Some of these developments make headlines, while others go unnoticed – though they’re no less important. Case in point: Can you guess which state generates the largest fraction of its electricity from renewable sources?

The answer: South Dakota. That state produced 83% of its in-state electricity from renewable sources in 2021, the result of its impressive implementation of wind energy. Between 2019 and 2021, South Dakota more than tripled wind energy production.

Bonus data points

  • The other leading states on this measure — Vermont, Washington, and Idaho — all derive the majority of their renewable energy from hydropower.
  • Texas produces the most renewable energy of any state, but it also generates an outsized amount of electricity from fossil fuels. So renewables only account for 26% of the state’s total electricity production. In 2021, 44% of Texas’s electricity came from fossil gas, also known as natural gas.

Looking at the EIA’s rankings of states by residential electricity rates, Hawaii is tops, – understandable because of the predominance of oil (for diesel generators I presume) as a source.
EIA says:

Hawaii has the highest electricity retail price of any state and it is nearly triple the U.S. average rate, in part because the state relies on imported petroleum for 60% of its electricity generation.

Right after that, it gets interesting. Number 2 is New Hampshire.

Next comes Rhode Island, below;

Massachusetts is 4th.

California is next, I would guess because despite the state’s crunchy granola image, it also is much more gas dependent than one would imagine.

Connecticut is next.

For the record, the number one state insofar as renewable generation, is South Dakota, which ranks 43rd among states in terms of residential electric rates.

Iowa is 6th among renewable leaders, and 38th in electric rates.

Idaho has the lowest electric rates, and is number 4 in renewables, behind South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington. States with a lot of hydro have a built in natural advantage.


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